Senator Peris: "Redouble efforts to tackle alcohol and violence problems, bring back BDR"

ONLY a day after the stabbing death of Territory MLA Bess Price's sister Senator Nova Peris today called for politics to be put aside and efforts be redoubled to tackle alcohol and violence problems in the Northern Territory.

“2013 was the most violent year in the Territory’s history," Ms Peris said.

"Most of the victims of the violence were women and most of them Aboriginal with the majority of the offenders under the influence of alcohol at the time.

“An Aboriginal woman is 80 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault in the Northern Territory.

“Every night our hospitals overflow with the victims of alcohol violence.  

"Alcohol related admissions to Territory Hospitals are up 80 per cent," Ms Peris said.

“Domestic Violence is increasing at an alarming rate.  Women and children are being bashed at horrific levels,” Senator Peris said.

“Domestic Violence increased 22 per cent in 2013. 

"The human toll of that statistic is over 800 more women being bashed in just 12 months.

Senator Peris reiterated her call earlier in the year to reintroduce the Banned Drinker’s Register (BDR) at the launch of the Australian Medical Association’s Women’s Health Policy to control alcohol at the point of sale.

“The AMA, the Police Association, health professionals, frontline workers and many other groups have called for the return of the BDR to help combat Domestic Violence," Ms Peris said.

Their pleas must be met with action.

“The BDR meant that every person on an alcohol related Domestic Violence Order was banned from purchasing alcohol at every alcohol take-away venue in the Northern Territory at every hour of the day.

"Nothing in the recent alcohol initiatives from the Northern Territory Government provides this level of protection against women."

Ms Peris pointed out that communities like Nhulunbuy on the Gove peninsula, where alcohol is still controlled electronically at the point of sale had far fewer rates of Domestic Violence per capita than regions that don’t.

“I can’t see how anyone can argue with the AMA and police that the BDR can only help tackle Domestic Violence.  It can’t possibly hurt,” Senator Peris said.

“If the only argument against the BDR was that it was a slight imposition, then bad luck. 

"A small inconvenience is a trivial price to pay for a scheme that can and has helped prevent violence.”

Senator Peris called on politics to be put aside and efforts redoubled to support every possible measure to curb the Territory’s growing levels of violence and alcohol abuse.